asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that the negotiations for an armistice in Korea have now been proceeding for nearly a year and have now apparently reached a deadlock, he will consider proposing the summoning of a special meeting of the Assembly of the United Nations to consider the situation.
Are there not many difficult and intractable subjects, such as the exchange of prisoners, the position of Syngman Rhee, the political direction of the war and the possibility of establishing an honourable peace, which might be discussed with beneficial results by an early meeting of the Assembly?
My experience of these meetings of the General Assembly is that opportunity is taken to use that body as a forum for propaganda and, as far as the armistice proceedings are concerned, I think that such a proceeding would cause delay.
At the last meeting of the General Assembly we were very anxious that while the armistice negotiations were continuing the General Assembly should not discuss the matter, because we were certain that if they did discuss the matter in the way that other matters had been discussed it would raise tempers on both sides and make an armistice more difficult.
As I tried to say to the House yesterday, I do not think that the alteration of our representation on the armistice delegation will make any difference at all. I think that these talks are being very competently handled now.
Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that those who have sons and husbands who are prisoners in Korea and those who have sons and husbands who are fighting in Korea would feel that the best interests of these men were looked after if we were directly represented at these talks?
That is a matter which I should have thought most certainly ought to have been borne in mind when this delegation was set up when our predecessors had responsibility, but I do not feel that this is the appropriate time for a change in the delegation; but the fact which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned is certainly one to be borne in mind.
Are we to understand that the war in Korea is now continuing on the question of the repatriation of prisoners? Is that a sufficient reason to continue the war in Korea? Cannot we get an armistice and allow this question of repatriation to stand over?